Want to save the world but not sure where to start? Read on to see how a few simple swaps can help save your planet.
Written by Brad Dunne and Kristy Leigh
1. Switch to online statements
Australia produced 5.6 MT of paper and cardboard waste in 2017 – 1 MT (Megatonne) is 1 billion kilograms. Let that sink in for a moment, it’s only going up as well. While there are plenty of good recycling initiatives at the moment, the reality is that paper is over recycled. One extremely simple thing we can do, is make the switch to e-billing which is 100% paper free.
2. Invest in a reusable coffee cup
Most of us love kick starting our day with a caffeine hit. But did you know, most takeaway coffee cups can’t be recycled because of hidden plastics in the lining? It’s estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year – that’s a whopping 2.7 Million coffee cups thrown out each day, with a large chunk ending up in landfill.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are loads of different options when it comes to reusable cups – from glass and stainless steel to tech savvy versions that allow you to pay with the swish of your cup (literally). Once you’ve made the switch you can sit back with pride, knowing you’re helping reduce waste – one soy latte at a time!
Your cafe might even reward you with a cheeky discount for bringing your own cup.
3. Ditch the plastic straw
We know how convenient straws can be when you’re on the move or wanting to keep coffee off your pearly whites, but did you know that Australians use 10 million straws each day? If you need a visual, that’s about 2 and a half school buses worth of plastic, every single day.
We’re not going to suggest going without a straw cold turkey, but we do want you to sip responsibly. Here are some good alternatives; if you’re feeling that little bit extra, you can get one attaches to your keyring. If you’re not into making it rain, you don’t need to spend over $20 for a straw – we reckon $3 fits any budget. After all, you’re saving the planet, remember?
4. Grab a reusable water bottle
It’s not surprising that plastic is the biggest threat to our oceans and marine life, but what’s shocking is just how much we’re using.Even more shocking? only 36% of all plastic bottles are recycled.
By choosing a reusable bottle, not only will you be helping save our iconic beaches and waterways – you’ll also be protecting our wildlife and reducing your greenhouse emissions. You can find loads of different reusable bottles online and in store, the Frank Green bottle comes with access to their Hydrate mobile app. This handy app lets you track your water for the day, how many $$’s you’ve saved in your pocket and the amount of plastic bottles you’ve saved from landfill – really letting you track your impact.
5. Stop clinging to plastic wrap
Leftovers help reduce food waste, but when we wrap them in plastic, it’s not helping the bigger picture. When you consider that Australia produces nearly enough cling wrap each year to wrap the state of Texas, something’s got to give…
A sensational, organic and ethically sourced alternative are beeswax wraps, like the ones over at Bee Wrappy. They come in designs that are easy on the eye, are made locally and best of all? can be reused. Good for the environment and your back pocket!
6. Recycle your plastic bags
Thanks to the big supermarkets phasing out plastic bags, grabbing a canvas tote is second nature to most of us now – but did you know you can recycle plastic bags and sleeves?Plastic packaging and liners (like your biscuit packages, bread sleeves and cereal packets) usually end up in the kitchen bin and ultimately in landfill – where they take hundreds of years to breakdown. Coles offer REDcycling bins at each of their stores, where you can drop off your soft plastic packaging and they’ll turn it into new products – including outdoor furniture. It’s as easy as bagging them up and dropping them off the next time you do your groceries – too easy!
7. Celebrate without balloons
From birthdays to baby showers, balloons usually scream ‘good time happening over here’ – but when the party’s over, they end up in one of two places – the bin or our waterways.
Switching up your party decorations is an easy way to help save the planet. For your next big party choose decorations that can be reused or recycled, like tissue paper pom poms, fabric bunting or crepe paper tassels. Not only are all of these options eye catching, but you can DIY them and save some cash too (plus who doesn’t love an excuse to use Pinterest?).
Big life event? How about scattering flower petals, planting a tree or spreading wildflower seed bombs – they’re beautiful to look at and also help feed our native bees. Win-win!
8. Let our app crunch the numbers for you
Want to reduce your carbon footprint without leaving the couch? We’ve got you covered with our mobile app. You can manage your bills, set up handy alerts and keep track of your usage. Understanding how you’re using energy can help you take control of your usage – reducing your impact and lowering your bills too.
You’ve got the power of change, right in the palm of your hand – so what are you waiting for? Jump over to the App or Google Play Store and download it today.
About the authors
Brad works in the Origin Social Media team. When he isn’t chatting with customers and delighting them with banter, he’s working on his blog or smashing popcorn and watching Netflix.
Kristy works in the Origin Social Media team and is currently studying a diploma of photography on the side. Outside of work and study, she loves going on weekend adventures, creating short travel vlogs and soaking up the sunshine (when it makes an appearance in Melbourne).